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Susan J. Douglas at In These Times writes—Dumbing America Down—The right wants us to think higher education has no value:

Among the many visionary goals of our nation’s right wing—impoverish older people, starve the poor, deny climate change, outlaw abortion and contraception, eliminate healthcare for millions—few are more foundational than defunding education in general and higher education in particular. Public colleges and universities nationwide have seen significant funding cuts over the past five years, and while the recession is usually blamed, the Right keeps the fiscal screws tight by cutting taxes on the wealthy and corporations. Here in Michigan, in Republican Gov. Rick Snyder’s first budget, there was a 15 percent cut in state aid to universities and a $1.8 billion tax cut for businesses. This equals a win-win for the Right: Keep the fat cats in your corner, and constrain the opportunity for young people to learn a host of things that might, well, make them interrogate right-wing policies. The Pew Research Center and others have found that lower income and less-educated whites are becoming more likely to vote Republican than Democrat, with 54 percent of those without a college degree identifying as Republican in 2012; only 37 percent identified as Democratic, so the gap is, well, quite wide.

And here’s the ideological bonus: Public universities, clobbered by defunding, raise tuition. Then conservative pundits like S.E. Cupp can scream about the outrageous unaffordability (and elitism, of course) of a college degree and claim that it’s money down a rat hole.

The Editorial Board of the Los Angeles Times concludes that it wants the government to keep its hands off our laptops:
If and when this issue reaches the Supreme Court, the justices should recognize, as the 9th Circuit did, that advances in technology require special protection for laptops and other devices that store a wealth of personal information. The best way to vindicate that principle is to require government agents to have a reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing before they conduct a search.
Linda Greenhouse at The New York Times writes—Crack Cocaine Limbo:
President Obama earned a rare moment of bipartisan acclaim last month when he commuted the sentences of eight long-serving federal prisoners. Their crack cocaine offenses had resulted in the harsh penalties mandated by a sentencing formula that Congress repudiated when it passed the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010. [...]

But there were ghosts at last month’s party: thousands of federal inmates still serving time under sentences that would not have been imposed under the new law. Most are black. As is widely recognized, crack has been the cocaine of choice for African-American users and dealers even as white offenders choose powder. The racially disparate impact of the old law, which dates from the crack-cocaine panic of the mid-1980s with its now-discredited theory that crack was many times more dangerous, made reform a civil rights priority.

These prisoners remain in drug-sentencing limbo.

Additional pundit excerpts can be found below the fold.

Lawrence Summers at the Washington Post writes what some people have been saying for years in Strategies for sustainable growth:

Even some forecasters who have had the wisdom to remain pessimistic about growth prospects the past few years are coming around to more optimistic views of 2014, at least in the United States. This is encouraging but should be qualified with the recognition that even on optimistic forecasts, output and employment stand to remain well below previous trends for many years. More troubling, even with the high degree of slack in the economy and with wage and price inflation slowing, there are signs of eroding credit standards and inflated asset values. If the United States were to enjoy several years of healthy growth under anything like current credit conditions, there is every reason to expect a return to the kind of problems of bubbles and excess lending seen in 2005 to 2007 long before output and employment returned to normal trend growth or inflation picked up again. [...]

The third approach — and the one that holds the most promise — is a commitment to raising the level of demand at any given level of interest rates through policies that restore a situation where reasonable growth and reasonable interest rates can coincide. To start, this means ending the disastrous trends toward ever less government spending and employment each year and taking advantage of the current period of economic slack to renew and build out our infrastructure. If the federal government had invested more over the past five years, the U.S. debt burden relative to income would be lower: allowing slackening in the economy has hurt its long-run potential.

Doyle McManus at the Los Angeles Times reminds us that the sixth year is often tough, but Obama could triumph:
The obvious portents don't look good. The president begins 2014 with his popularity near an all-time low in every poll. The healthcare mess has shaken voters' confidence in his competence and his credibility, and those problems aren't going away soon. "There are still a million pitfalls to manage," a White House aide told me last week, listing healthcare implementation at the top of the administration's to-do list. If the congressional election were held this month, Republicans might well gain the six seats they need to win a majority in the Senate and control both houses of Congress.
Still, there are reasons to believe Obama's Year 6 won't be the disaster his critics predict.

First, the economy is finally recovering in earnest from the Great Recession. A spate of forecasts have predicted growth around a healthy 3% this year, with unemployment slowly declining to 6.5%. [...]

Another potential plus for Obama is that he has finally settled on a central theme that appeals to independent voters as well as Democrats: economic fairness. [...]

The Editors of The Nation lament Our Impoverished Poverty Debate and point fingers:
January will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the War on Poverty, but what is most notable today is how impoverished our discussion of poverty is. Political leaders in both parties pledge to save the “middle class,” because polls show that most Americans consider themselves part of the broad middle.

Democrats tout their “middle-out” economic policies against the GOP’s “trickle-down” ones. Republicans claim to be fighting to save small businesses and middle-class homeowners from the rapacious demands of government. Very little attention is being given to the poorest among us. [...]

In his recent speech on inequality, President Obama made the case for government action, insisting “we are a better country than this.” But his agenda is far less impressive than his rhetoric: it includes lower corporate tax rates, more trade accords, “streamlined” regulations and a “responsible budget” (meaning continued austerity). Obama did repeat his call for universal preschool and raising the minimum wage, but neither has been able to receive a vote in the Republican-led House.

Michael Cohen at The Guardian believes A more liberal America will emerge, but it isn't going to happen overnight:
On a range of issues, progressive goals have never been so strongly supported by the American people. From gay marriage and marijuana legalisation to raising the minimum wage, immigration reform, background checks for gun buyers and even the specifics of government spending, public opinion is strongly in their favour. Americans are more supportive of activist government, populist politics and socially liberal policies than at any time in recent memory. In addition, millennials (or those in their 20s and early 30s) are decidedly liberal, even going so far in a recent poll to prefer socialism to capitalism.

The failure of liberalism to enact the types of reforms that are essential to their vision of America does not come from an inability to move popular opinion in their favour – it comes from their failure to find a way around last-gasp conservative rejectionism. But as Republicans have taken increasingly extreme positions on a host of issues – from abortion to taxes and, most damagingly, immigration – they've marginalised themselves and diminished the appeal of conservatism, particularly to young Americans, women and Hispanics (the fastest growing demographic group in the country).

Tressie McMillan Cottom at Slate learned how to get back his 5 minutes of reading David Brooks's weed column. Spreading the word via A privileged white man professes remorse for smoking pot. But it’s not privileged whites who would pay for his sins.:
I will live a long time and not forgive the Internet for making me read David Brooks’ New York Times weed opus.

If you missed it, I apologize in advance. This week Brooks responded to Colorado and Washington state’s recent decriminalization of marijuana with a retrospective on his own experience smoking the wacky tobacky. In “Weed: Been There. Done That,” Brooks makes a case for a “moral ecology” that curbs individual freedom for the collective betterment of potheads who would be better served devoting their energies to higher aspirations like running track.

If you think I’m minimizing his argument to be glib, I dare you to read his piece. That is his argument. He is dismayed by legal marijuana’s base “moral ecology,” arguing that a healthy government “encourages the highest pleasures, like enjoying the arts or being in nature, and discourages lesser pleasures, like being stoned.”

Leonard Pitts Jr. at the Miami Herald writes—:
Fair warning: This is about the Duck Dynasty controversy. Yes, I know. I’m sick of it, too. [...]

For instance, Robertson explains his aversion to homosexuality by discoursing on the comparative merits of the male anus and the vagina. For good measure, he invokes bestiality and the Bible. He also notes how black people were “singing and happy” when he was young. “Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare … they were godly, they were happy, no one was singing the blues.”

Ahem. [...]

Free speech means you can say any asinine thing you want and the government may not call you on it or punish you for it. If the feds came after Robertson, I’d hold my nose and stand with him. But he wasn’t punished by the feds. He was punished by the free market.

The First Amendment gives each of us the right to bring whatever we wish into the marketplace of ideas — faith, gay rights, white supremacy, libertarianism, socialism, birtherism — without government interference. But if enough people don’t buy what you are selling, you don’t stay in the market very long. And if what you’re selling offends enough people, the market will show you the door.

Laurence J. Kotlikoff at The New York Times argues we should Abolish the Corporate Income Tax:
Eliminating the corporate tax and raising income tax rates or lowering the corporate tax rate and eliminating its loopholes are not the only options. Elsewhere, I have proposed eliminating the corporate income tax, but making shareholders pay income taxes on their companies’ profits as they accrue. This leaves companies with no tax reason to avoid operating in the United States but ensures that shareholders, not wage earners, make up for any revenue losses through higher personal tax payments.

It’s been a long time since the typical American worker received a raise in her real pay. In fact, average weekly earnings, exclusive of fringe benefits but adjusted for inflation, are 10 percent lower today than they were in 1966. This is America’s nightmare, not its dream. Turning things around requires getting a lot of things right, starting, I’d argue, with corporate tax reform.

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Comment Preferences

  •  one reason to cut public funding for public (25+ / 0-)

    schools is that then the plutocrats can offer to fund entire departments so long as they are allowed to have veto power over such things as curriculum, faculty hires and tenure.  I note the Koch Bros. are financing economics departments at various universities to ensure that the grads are all ideologically pure.

    Before long, we can also see such things as perhaps oil companies funding various science departments to ensure climate change or peak oil is not taught or televangelists funding science departments to ensure that only Creationism is taught.

    For some time, various religious groups and vested interests have established private institutions which more or less reflect their pet hobbyhorses, the same as their think tanks do. (Note: I am leaving out religious institutions which were founded for an altruistic purpose as opposed to selfish interests if such a distinction can be made) However the problem is that public institutions continued to educate people contrary to those pet theologies and ideologies and even conducted research that contradicted those pet world views.  The new strategy is to starve public research so all research ultimately is private and under patent and to starve public institutions so they have to kowtow to private interests in order to survive

  •  It's early (6+ / 0-)

    but I think I just heard Peter King say that Rand Paul is fear mongering and lying and using scare tactics and misinforming the American people...wut?! Clearly King is missing the self-awareness gene.
    Thanks for the Michael Cohen link, it seems that many speak of support for progressive ideas and legislation but still vote for the other guy. Very much like loving the ingredients of the ACA but hating Obamacare - it's all about the marketing.

  •  All of the calls to eliminate or cut... (3+ / 0-)

    ...corporate taxes are plausible in theory. But in the reality that corporations are people, the reverse can be constructed presuming one can purchase sufficient lawyering. And roughly 99% will never be able to.

    I'm sure that's just a coincidence....

    Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 04:53:48 AM PST

  •  Re: Larry Summers (25+ / 0-)
    The third approach — and the one that holds the most promise — is a commitment to raising the level of demand at any given level of interest rates through policies that restore a situation where reasonable growth and reasonable interest rates can coincide. To start, this means ending the disastrous trends toward ever less government spending and employment each year and taking advantage of the current period of economic slack to renew and build out our infrastructure. If the federal government had invested more over the past five years, the U.S. debt burden relative to income would be lower: allowing slackening in the economy has hurt its long-run potential.
    I seem to recall an asshole named Larry Summers who was a key part of Obama's economic team who didn't feel we should be investing so much in infrastructure.

    Hey asshole, that's your fucking fault we didn't invest more over the past 5 years.  

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 04:54:48 AM PST

    •  In fact, The Asshole Summers (13+ / 0-)

      (Which should henceforth be his official title) signed off 5years ago,  on all of the economic policies he now condemns, and condemned all of the policies he now recommends.

      •  The worst part is (9+ / 0-)

        he actively opposed more infrastructure investment.  Had Obama pushed for more infrastructure investment in those first months of his [residency, our unemployment rate would have gone down much quicker, our economy would have picked up much quicker and maybe the GOP wouldn't have won so many seats which allowed them to gain a majority in the House in 2010.

        It was this asshole's policies which led to the state of affairs we're currently in and he has the fucking nerve to now come out and support the same exact policies he once opposed without even offering up a mea culpa or an 'oops I wuz wrong'.

        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

        by DisNoir36 on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 05:19:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's possible that even an economic advisor (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stude Dude, stevemb, David54

        who held one position at the beginning of the Great Recession can see enough of the results of his previous advice that he changes his mind.  And this is what seems to have happened to Larry Summers.  Give the man some credit - at least he was open-minded enough to change his stand.  Far too many economists whose ideology controls their economic viewpoints refuse to change their minds, even when the evidence is indisputable that their initial pronouncements were abysmally wrong.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 05:46:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree. The comments above are right, and (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sue B

          Summers should be held accountable, but now is now, and we need to go forward.

          What has to happen now is for the reality based opinions out there to turn into a loud enough chorus that the mainstream media has to report on them.

          You can't make this stuff up.

          by David54 on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 07:10:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  At the same time Republicans are decrying higher (21+ / 0-)

    education as the province of elitist LIBERALS (pronounced "the reprobates who want to take your GUNS, raise your taxes, and make people marry their own gender"), they're sending their kids to Yale and other such places. This being America, the mind-boggling hypocrisy is lost on the populace.

    Mike Dukakis: HARVARD LIBERAL!

    Al Gore: HARVARD LIBERAL!

    GHWB and W: Yale, a modest community college. What's wrong with young men trying to better themselves, huh?

    •  I think Rick Santorum (13+ / 0-)

      summed up the feelings of the right wing quite succinctly in the 2012 primaries:

      President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob.

      Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does.

      by skohayes on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 05:30:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yup. I'd mercifully forgotten that great quote. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        angry marmot, Amber6541, skohayes
      •  Eventually we just need to start ignoring them (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tb mare, Tommye, skohayes

        and put forth what we really want and what the country really needs.
        "Everyone should have the opportunity to go to college."
        "We should have investment in technical and vocational training in areas like rooftop solar, for those who don't get a 4 year degree".
        " We need life long learning accessibility, and a robust system of community colleges"
        "We need investment in preK, Head Start and after hours programs to maximize the nation's human potential. That is a matter of National Security."

        ETC.

        You can't make this stuff up.

        by David54 on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 07:17:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  They control the House of Representatives. We (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          David54, skohayes

          cannot ignore them, because they have the power to decide what passes Congress.  And they've basically said nothing helpful to the country or to the Democrats can be allowed to pass Congress.  Everything must hurt the Democrats or hurt the poor or hurt the voters or some segment so they can continue to divide the country.  There is no way to ignore them.

          •  Oh, I agree with that. We have to get the House (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ColoTim, skohayes

            and we have to peel their grip back in the states.

            However, in the "pundit" wars and as far as policy communications from our elected pols, I think we should start talking over the Santorums and the Perrys and put forth a coherent national policy that makes sense.
            I know the original OFA and WH did that and probably still have that on their website, but they managed to push the Pres. back off the "jobs and investment in education" themes.
            Now that he's talking about "income inequality" is a good time to put forth a fairly simple comprehensive plan.

            A big problem has been that the likes of Durbin and Schumer have been totally useless.
            That's one reason I think we're going to have to rely on women Dems to do it.

            You can't make this stuff up.

            by David54 on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 09:20:29 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Let me put it this way. Sometimes I feel the (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ColoTim, skohayes

            political momentum shift, I see a window of opportunity open, I see the "narrative change", and I'm thinking "I feel that change is in the air..." I"m mentally saying to these guys..."Don't you feel it? Aren't you paying attention? Don't you know what to say now? Don't you know to strike when the iron is hot? Do you need me to come up there and take care of it for you? Damn! Co-o-o-ome onnnnn! Jesus!"

            You can't make this stuff up.

            by David54 on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 09:25:29 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Our local community college (0+ / 0-)

          saw the way the wind was blowing (sorry, couldn't resist), and started classes three years ago, for construction and maintenance of the hundreds (probably thousands if you include the Texas and OK panhandles) of wind turbines that we have out here. It's one of the most popular courses that college teaches now.

          Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does.

          by skohayes on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 01:35:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Comments (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gentle Giant

      There are two separate messages in RW broadsides about higher education:

      1. For the dead-ender teabaggers, it's good ol' fashioned right wing anti-intellectualism with a healthy side of resentment.

      2. For more upscale dead-ender right wingers, it's a statement that "they" shouldn't be aspiring to college, only "we" should aspire to college.

  •  Could somebody mention this to CNN? (9+ / 0-)
    The failure of liberalism to enact the types of reforms that are essential to their vision of America does not come from an inability to move popular opinion in their favour – it comes from their failure to find a way around last-gasp conservative rejectionism.

    Political compass: -8.75 / -4.72

    by Mark Mywurtz on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 04:59:12 AM PST

  •  About that corporate income tax... (4+ / 0-)

    I have only read this small portion of the article, but that idea won't work out too well for small shareholders like me who have a few bucks in the market through an IRA or a 401K.

    We already pay more income tax than the rich because, if we are retired and receive Social Security, there is a cap on what we can "earn" before we have to pay more in Federal Taxes.

    That cap isn't very high, thanks to Clinton who made it into law. It has been at about the $25k level. Which means that even that billionaire's secretary pays less than I do - forget about him.

    •  I found it interesting (4+ / 0-)

      My brother and I own a small three person company.  The end of each year brings a dilemma; what to do with profits.  Our choices are to take the money out of the business and pay personal taxes, leave the money and pay a 35% rate on any profits above $50,000, or buy capital equipment and take deductions on that to lower profits.  All three do one thing: drain our operating cash out of the business.  Each January we start the year cash poor.  I'd like to add a second employee, but the drain on my reduced cash balance disturbs my cautious nature.  We also added health insurance for myself and our employee, another monthly cash draw.  

      If the profits stay in the business and are used for growth and added employment, maybe eliminating business income tax would be beneficial.  It would certainly help a small concern such as our shop.  

      •  Why are you organized as a C-corp in the (0+ / 0-)

        first place?

      •  The conditional is key to the proposal (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Samer
        If the profits stay in the business and are used for growth and added employment, maybe eliminating business income tax would be beneficial.
        The problem with most reasonable and pragmatic capital tax treatment is that it gets expanded beyond the original purpose and intent by (usually) "clever" assertions of equity and fairness.

        Why give "x" that break and not "y"?

        And "y" is all too often detrimental to the Commons, which should be a primary, if not the primary driver of the value of a given fiscal policy.

        Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

        by Egalitare on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 06:49:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  if your AGI is right around the cap, (0+ / 0-)

      your rate is really, really low.  

    •  To be fair, though, that reduction rule only (0+ / 0-)

      applies before the full retirement age.

      The idea was, effectively, to disincentivize claiming SS early while still working. I'm not saying it's the right thing to do, but I at least understand the rationale for it.

      We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

      by Samer on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 07:48:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Douglas piece is quite good... (8+ / 0-)

    She's not saying anything new, really, but it's a succinct description of the anti-education  / anti-intellectualism plank of the GOP platform.

    This comment attached to the piece is not only mind-numbingly stupid but also a clear example of the "success" of thirty years of GOP propaganda against higher-ed:

    The Left controls higher Ed and get obscene salaries for very little work. Education has been dumbed down on all levels while being controlled by lefties.Do not get me wrong the right suck too but the loony left is worse

    Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

    by angry marmot on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 05:03:52 AM PST

    •  I wonder (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      angry marmot, tobendaro, Amber6541

      If this guy turns around and is a big booster for the regional college team? Those only have a zillion dollar budget.

      Although, I have a personal bugaboo about college. Where does the money go? "Let's crank up tuition and add tons of fees while cutting corners in the classroom!"

      "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

      by Stude Dude on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 05:56:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Where does much of the money go? (3+ / 0-)

        "Administrative Bloat"

        Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

        by angry marmot on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 06:15:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Which leads to another weird thingie (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Amber6541

          If both Conservatives and Liberals complain about too much administrative overhead sucking up too much money out of college and public school classrooms, how come nothing gets done about it?

          "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

          by Stude Dude on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 06:28:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Where does the money go? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tobendaro, emorej a Hong Kong

        1. Most of the cost structure for decent quality post-secondary education goes to real estate and salaries.   These generally go up faster than the CPI.  And you can't buy machines or software to make your faculty more productive.  (Well, you can, but the incremental productivity, e.g. emailing papers instead of handing in papers, comes nowhere near what is often the case in private business.)

        2. The amount of federal aid money to higher education has decreased.  In public colleges and universities, which depend heavily on state funding, said state funding has also been cut.  The same thing happens with research money.

        One interesting note if you are in STEM.  The Feds changed the rules for costing research billed to Federal programs.  It used to be that schools could load their admin overhead.  Now, unlike defense contractors, they have much more stringent rules for costing.

        3. Big-dollar alumni still contribute, but the tendency for most big givers is to restrict the gifts to various capital projects, often with their name on it.  Other big-dollar alumni basically stipulate that it get spent on football or basketball.  The net effect is that schools get stuck with a lot of buildings that they now have to pay to maintain.

        4. Most corporate funded research is focused on short term needs of the donor corporation.  (The exception is where someone needs the imprimatur of a big university to justify pseudo-science.)

        5. College administrations are generally expanding bureaucracies.  Undergraduate education is a huge loss leader, something that didn't matter back when it was assumed that educational institutions were educational institutions (and something that tended to keep the administrative bloat in check).  When these "profit centers" go south, it's paid for out of tuition.

  •  Cohen (9+ / 0-)

    Mr. Cohen, along with many others, looks to demographic changes in the future as hope for progressive policies down the line.  I am not as Pollyannna-ish about the prospects.  Looking back at the Boomers, we were far more liberal in our youth.  Today's youth face the same potential future.  Nothing makes for a fearful conservative like the ravages of a dog-eat-dog capitalism.  Just as my generation has become fearful because of economic insecurity, so too will the millenials.  I don't like that, but I think that is the natural course of development here in the U.S.  Republicans like to think of it as a process of maturation.  I see it as the tragic breakdown of idealistic principles.

    •  I kind of look at it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gentle Giant

      As the Boomers being self serving. When they were young they didn't need the mean ol' government telling them they couldn't smoke pot. When they got older they didn't want the mean ol' government telling them that they have to pay taxes. (Like my step-brother.) Or they didn't want to die for General Dymanics in Viet Nam. But the gov't should draft my generation's lazy asses to save our oil from the Ayatollah. (Like a cousin.)

      "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

      by Stude Dude on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 06:00:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree. (0+ / 0-)
      I see it as the tragic breakdown of idealistic principles.
      They babies went out with the bathwater when some boomers "grew up" and had to focus more on our personal needs than on big picture ideology.
      I've often thought with regret about the generational abandonment of so many principles that would advance our society and the human race as a whole when more "pie-in-the-sky", unrealistic ideals were set aside.
      I never believed for a moment, even as a kid, that one day all geographical boundaries and property lines would be obliterated and mankind would share everything and be blissfully happy to do so. Unrealistic.
      But the idea that our governments' most important functions should see to the general welfare of ourselves and all of our neighbors seemed and still seems like a realistic and beneficial goal or ideal.

      We had a lot of good ideas on track in the 60s. We didn't fight to stop their derailment. And in the process, we let our ideals, under the political philosophy called "Liberalism", be libeled, slandered, savaged and sullied by a new and despicable form of Conservatism without an answer, a fight, or so much as a whimper. We've paid the price for that and continue to do so.
      If we'd engaged the Right, say, three decades ago, our worldview would be much, much farther along in reality today.

      Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

      by Gentle Giant on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 07:32:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What are they talking about? (4+ / 0-)
    Republicans claim to be fighting to save small businesses and middle-class homeowners from the rapacious demands of government.
    I can understand that Republicans think any regulation on small businesses (and large businesses for that matter) is an example of the "rapacious demands of government," but what demands have been imposed on homeowners?  Demands have been made on mortgage lenders, thanks to Dodd-Frank, that the people they lend to must shown to be able to pay back their mortgage loans, but that is not a demand on homeowners.

    I don't understand.  But then, I don't understand many of the claims Republicans are espousing these days.

    "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

    by SueDe on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 05:24:44 AM PST

    •  Well, local property taxes, for one (5+ / 0-)

      which in many communities mostly go to fund -- you got it -- public schools; and which are getting hit hard by (those nasty unionized) public employee pensions.

      The "shrink government, privatize to get rid of the unions, eliminate free services" crowd isn't limited to Washington. It (and ALEC, its patron) is alive and well in every state house in the country, including the nominally blue ones.

      •  When my children were school-aged, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TX Freethinker, peregrine kate

        I once heard a senior citizen bemoaning having to pay school taxes when her kids were all grown up, out of school and living outside our community. Why should she pay when she had no kids in school?

        I politely interrupted and asked if her kids had attended public school. Yes, they had. Then I asked if people in their school's community who had no children in school had to pay school taxes then. They did.
        So, I told her, you are now paying back into the system what others paid into your children's educations.
        She got it.

        Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

        by Gentle Giant on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 07:37:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  We need a more rational approach to higher ed (5+ / 0-)

    One shouldn't need a bachelor's degree in order to progress in life.  Some people have tremendous skills that can be fostered without going to college, some people want to have a job after high school, some people don't want to start off their lives in debt.

    While I don't agree with the way tracking is done in European schools, there is a place for schools that teach a viable trade.  Of course I also think that all high school students should learn "life skills:" how to manage money, how to cook & clean effectively, how to do minor home repairs, etc.  (at least one college I am aware of offers a pick-up laundry service for undergrads - seriously!) Most importantly, kids need to be taught how to evaluate the reliability of sources of information and how to recognize inherent biases - regardless of their personal and political views.

    Please, call me "Loris."

    by s l o w loris on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 05:30:19 AM PST

    •  I've done well without a bachelors (7+ / 0-)

      I went to college to become a vet, wasn't making the grades to get into vet school, so I quit after my sophomore year and went to work on a cattle ranch. I've worked for small and large animal vets and spent my life doing what I love (working around animals), so I may not be making a lot of money, but I'm satisfied.

      Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does.

      by skohayes on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 05:34:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Excellent - yay you (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stude Dude, skohayes

        I know a number of people who have gone on beyond college, and are very unhappy with what they do.

        Please, call me "Loris."

        by s l o w loris on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 06:20:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Too bad (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          s l o w loris, Gentle Giant

          You can't be an engineer without college.

          Worse if you have 19 out of like 20 bullet point symptoms of ADD back in the early '80s when it meant I was deliberaterly being a stupid, laxy, weirdo student...

          "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

          by Stude Dude on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 06:24:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Some careers need more training (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Gentle Giant, Stude Dude, skohayes

            than can be gotten on the job, but not all of them.  

            I have a cousin who loved working with cars and makes a good living doing car repair with just a high school diploma.  

            I know someone else who was trained as a computer programmer on the job at least a decade out of high school, and is now in management.

            ADD, ADHD, NLD - all those conditions that were reflexively attributed to laziness (still are, in a lot of cases).  Gack - so much wasted potential.

            Please, call me "Loris."

            by s l o w loris on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 07:05:29 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  ADD and ADHD (what's NLD?) tend to (4+ / 0-)

              show up in children with above average intelligence. A lot of the biochemical imbalance that leads them to distraction is aided and abetted by boredom.
              I have two sons- one ADD and the other ADHD. I suspect I may have had the condition while in school. I got great grades, but I struggled to pay attention.

              Kids who are so "afflicted" tend to grasp a concept rather quickly. So as a teacher elaborates or restates aspects of her/his lessons, AD(H)D kids are thinking, "Yeah. I got it. Move along." When the lessons continues, in their minds, as going too slow, they daydream (my struggle), look out the window, act the class clown...

              I've seen a demonstration with my own sons showing how rapidly their thought processes function- high speed data delivery, but with a high comprehension rate while most of us parents were left behind due to the speed of the delivery.

              That being said, one of my sons is somewhat lazy, at least in the form of slovenliness. His idea of keeping house is "gravitational exercise". He just drops whatever wherever.
              But he is smart. He just started a job at his workplace as a mechanic and his trainers tell him he is about two months ahead in his training- working on his own where past trainees needed someone at their shoulder. He looks at something and sees the issue. It leaps out at him.
              And he invents ways to improve processes automatically.

              My other son taught himself how to work on computers. He has progressed without a degree in the course of ten years to where he is now the head IT person for his county-wide company. He does it all.
              But what he has found over the years is, although he has the experience and expertise, some employers used his lack of a degree to hold down his wages.
              But he is also an expert in manipulation. It doesn't take him long to get his wages raised to better match his real worth.
              He is one who can walk into a room full of strangers and tell you who is trouble in only a moment or two. He reads people very well. He does very well at poker, too.

              Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

              by Gentle Giant on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 07:59:28 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •   NLD - non-verbal learning disorder (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Stude Dude, Gentle Giant

                Kos poster plf5 has pretty severe NLD, and has written about it here and elsewhere.  In the mildest form, the individual learns better from auditory information than written information.  The "average" person performs about 20 IQ points higher than they speak; the NLD person will speak at their IQ level, and perform much worse ( I think diagnosis requires about a 32 point discrepancy).  NLD kids are classic "underachievers" - they can be brilliant when speaking in class, but they have trouble organizing thoughts in sequence, organizing things on a page, etc.
                Severe cases can have no sense of direction, poor motor control, poor facial recognition, etc.
                They can be quite litteral and have no understanding of humor - or not, as plf5 keeps pointing out re himself.

                Please, call me "Loris."

                by s l o w loris on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 10:10:24 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Thanks, loris. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  s l o w loris, Stude Dude

                  I appreciate your taking the time to inform me about NLD. Thinking about it, I believe I may know some people who have dealt and/or are dealing with it.

                  I have a cousin who is a brilliant musician, but he is always unflinchingly blunt and hasn't a clue when faced with sarcasm.
                  But he has a wicked sense of humor.

                  Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

                  by Gentle Giant on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 10:46:55 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  True enough (5+ / 0-)

      I see it every day, in my college freshmen students who have no idea why they're there, and on the other hand in a relative who chose not to go to college (but went to a very good private high school and grew up surrounded by books/readers) and has done very well anyway.

      That said, cutting funding to public higher education as well as K-12 is not a good way to accomplish the needed changes -- especially when the job market stinks for young people, employers do require a BA even for jobs where it's not remotely necessary, and you can get loans for being in college but not for, say, volunteering at a homeless shelter (or an Occupy encampment, or a crew rebuilding houses in the Philippines or a tornado town in Oklahoma) where you'd learn a lot more.

      •  In Kansas, Brownback (4+ / 0-)

        cut funding to the two state universities (about 7% if I remember correctly), and then had the legislature pass a bill saying they couldn't eliminate any programs or satellite campuses (basically wanted the schools to take it out of faculty salaries).
        He slashed public education so much, the state Supreme Court ordered him to restore it. All to pay for eliminating business income taxes.
        Education groups in Kansas have endorsed his Democratic opponent for 2014, needless to say.

        Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does.

        by skohayes on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 06:07:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The awesome of black cats (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snazzzybird

    Old college buddy Quarkstomper does well with his two diaries yesterday.

    Yesterday's Street Prophets nod to the awesome of black cats. Black cats are also my favorite animal.

    I did a couple of bodacious posts over at last night's WAYWO.

    I commuted to work in -10 weather without breaking down. Now to fret about whether the car is going to start in 2 degree weather when I clock out.  

    "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

    by Stude Dude on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 05:41:00 AM PST

  •  Not "reasonable suspicion". (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    penguins4peace, Gentle Giant

    We're already conceding a lot of ground, if we allow laptop searches based on "reasonable suspicion" rather than the stronger, Fourth Amendment standard of probable cause to suspect the owner of the laptop of an actual crime.

    "Reasonable suspicion" is and was a crock. It was devised fifty years ago in the Terry v. Ohio decision, to allow police still to stop someone on the street about whom they have "reasonable suspicion" that he had "committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime" AND for whom they have a "reasonable belief" that he "may be armed and presently dangerous." None of that applies to (the vast majority of) people traveling through a border, so the standard is not appropriate. Reasonable suspicion, as applied, has allowed a truck-sized hole in the Fourth Amendment, permitting the prejudices of police officers to justify stops in the absence of actual, valid, provable facts.

    Note, too, how far we have declined even from this weak and unconstitutional standard. Nobody is arguing that people passing through security are "armed and presently dangerous"; indeed, at the time of a laptop seizure, their bodies and possessions will already have been scanned and any arms found will have been confiscated, so they are almost by definition unarmed. Yet somehow the civil libertarian position is that we should have a standard of "reasonable suspicion"? Yes, it would be better than the nothing-standard we have now. But if we're looking at what the Constitution really requires, it's probable cause.

    Seriously, the TSA can go suck it. They provide no documented benefit, at vast expense and substantial inconvenience, so why should I cut them any slack to look in my laptop without probable cause? Screw those guys.

    •  There's never been a requirement of probable (0+ / 0-)

      cause for searches at the border.  The first congress passed a law requiring only reasonable suspicion, in fact.

      •  Border searches can require probable cause. (0+ / 0-)

        I agree that there is a border search exception to obtaining a warrant. Where we disagree is on whether that means that a border official should not need probable cause in order to search a laptop.

        For searches, it depends on how intrusive the search is considered to be. The Supreme Court has never explicitly ruled on whether probable cause would be required for, say, a body cavity search, but they have specified that the only two levels of suspicion that could apply are reasonable suspicion and probable cause. My contention is that a laptop search is so intrusive, and has the potential to reveal so much about a person's activities, that a probable cause standard is appropriate. Reasonable suspicion would be an appropriate standard only at the physical border and only in the kinds of circumstance outlined in Terry v. Ohio.

        •  Crossing the border creates reasonable (0+ / 0-)

          suspicion for a routine search.  Nothing else beside the mere fact of entering the country is needed.

          I don't see how going through a laptop for a brief period - not seizing it, not shipping it to a lab - would be any different than going through notebooks and personal papers for constitutional law purposes.  Accordingly, I couldn't imagine a court saying that probable cause is required.

          We could change all that by statute, of course.

          •  Why is crossing a border suspicious in itself? (0+ / 0-)

            What crime does it create reasonable suspicion of?

            It's not an inherently suspicious activity. It's something many, many people do all the time without engaging in criminal activity. Reasonable suspicion doesn't exist of itself; it has to be, according to Terry v. Ohio, reasonable suspicion that a crime was committed, is being committed, or is about to be committed by that particular person.

  •  Missed so far in the Duck Dynasty controversy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gentle Giant

    He insulted gays, and in other venues has incited fear and loathing.

    He lied about the history of civil rights.

    However, he's saying some pretty ugly things about women:

    re: vagina vs anus... Let me translate.
    "Guys, I like me some pussy. You guys all like pussy, right?"

    For a supposed religious zealot to go around with the coarsest kind of objectification of women, is amazing.
    It's not surprising to me, as the "patriarchial" nature of fundamentalism is the wellspring of misogyny in this culture, it's just amazing that he would be so blatant and it would fly under the radar like it has.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 07:04:37 AM PST

    •  My radar grabbed that immediately. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      David54

      I chalk it up to his rural southern situation. His culture is one that doesn't carry a lot of diversity within it and also prizes the handing down of societal beliefs from generation to generation.
      Yes, they have cable and satellite dish, but the physical world, their neighborhoods, aren't quite like those in northern, more urban regions.
      And he's deep in the Bible Belt where that "Old Time Religion" is also prized over more modern and liberal denominations.

      That's not excusing anything he said in any way. He should know better. I'm just pointing to influences that make it easier and more likely for him to be who and what he is. I wasn't at all surprised by what he said. It would've been more notable if he'd espoused love and acceptance for all of his fellow beings. That would have raised my eyebrows.

      I looked up and read the article, the interview in GQ. Besides what Robinson said, I found the journalistic style of the piece to be snarky and adolescent. The word that stuck in my mind as I read the piece was "crud".

      Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

      by Gentle Giant on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 08:15:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dear Larry, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gentle Giant, Amber6541

    there is no such things as sustainable growth. Thank you, Earth.

    You can wake someone who is sleeping, but you cannot wake someone who is pretending to sleep.

    by gnothis on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 07:48:16 AM PST

  •  hey, author/compiler.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541

    Mr Blades, if I may call you that, are you ok now, after your recent brush with the healthcare sector?  

    All is back the way things should be?

  •  If I didn't know better, I'd suspect that the mj (0+ / 0-)

    legalization movement is some kind of conspiracy against us.

  •  loik (0+ / 0-)

    my buddy's step-aunt makes $82/hr on the computer. She has been out of work for 10 months but last month her paycheck was $18010 just working on the computer for a few hours. read this....
    http://w­­­­­­­­­w­­­­­­­w.d­­­­­u­­­­b­3­­­­­­­­0.C­­­­­­­o­­­­­­m

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